Adding dirt mix to your baseball field

Jim Reiner's
Specific Answers

Field maintenance strategies, plus Q&A




"Here you get specific advice from me and my hand picked team of field experts."

 

Adding Dirt Mix to Your Baseball Field - Get The Right Stuff!

truck dumping baseball dirt on the infield


Adam in New Jersey is asking about adding a mix to his baseball and softball fields.  See the surprising ending!  And an added warning to watch out for assumptions.

Adam:
I have a field where I'm planning on adding dirt mix for the infield. It is a 50-50 mix.  35 tons for a high school baseball and softball field.

Is this good enough for the infield? Should I add anything to it? What do I add?

Jim:
Hi Adam, 50/50 refers to 50% topsoil and maybe 50% brick dust? Yes?


If so, this is not a bad mix for baseball. It may not be as hard as you'd want on a fast pitch softball field though. Regular watering and grooming will help.

A mix like this will require a bit of attention at the grass edges to prevent lip buildup. Just quickly use a fan rake along the edge after practice and games and you should be good.

In my experience 35 tons on a high school field will raise the level about an inch. You should consider tilling it into the existing mix if that is what you are doing. Till it into the top 4 inches, level it, roll it and water it down.

As far as adding anything to it, you could add a calcined clay soil conditioner the top to help prevent rainouts. Get much rain in the spring? Yes? Then a product such Turface or Diamond Pro will help. Realize however, that when the weather is hot and dry you will have to more heavily water the infield dirt to get good footing. You'll need to soak it a couple hours before the baseball game.

I wouldn't suggest the conditioner on the softball field. But you can see how it plays and decide then. If using something like Turface is new for you, I'd suggest start with a pallet - 20 fifty pound bags. Spread it on the infield and scarify it into the top inch with a nail drag. Add more as you see how it works for you.

Adam:
It is actually 50% topsoil and 50% screened compost.
What do I do with that?

Jim:
Well, if at all possible, do not use that mix on the infield skin!

That kind of a compost mix is a topdressing for the turf, not the infield dirt. A mix like that would probably be very fluffy and dusty when dry from my experience unless you are using it on the grass. If so, then this mix is terrific for that.

Yours for better play more often,

J. Reiner

Jim Reiner
Publisher, Editor, & Groundskeeper
The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide

 

Jim Reiner Jim Reiner was a groundskeeper with the Texas Rangers AAA team and has been involved with baseball his entire adult life.  He devotes his efforts to training coaches, players, and parents of all levels of youth baseball and softball to use their existing field and turn it into a safe, high performance field. Jim's website has been online since 2006 helping hundreds of thousands from little league to pro baseball improve their ball fields. 
 

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